Tessa Bent

Tessa Bent

Professor, Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences

Director, Speech Perception Laboratory


  • Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2005
  • B.A., Millersville University, 1998

Research interests

  • Children’s perceptual development in understanding unfamiliar speech varieties, such as regional dialects and nonnative accents
  • Perception of indexical variables in speech including race and gender
  • Individual differences in speech perception under adverse conditions

About Tessa Bent

Tessa Bent is a Professor in the Department of Speech, Hearing and Language Sciences, director of the Speech Perception Laboratory, and Ph.D. coordinator. Her research focuses on children's and adult's perception and representation of variable speech signals, with a focus on regional dialects and foreign accents. This research is currently supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation. She is also conducting research on perception of gender and race from speech. She takes an active-learning approach within her undergraduate courses in phonetics, sociophonetics, language development, and speech perception. She is a Senior Fellow within the IU Mosaic Initiative and a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America.  

Selected publications


Bent, T., Knapp, J. and Robinson, J. (in press). Evaluating the Effectiveness of Teaching Assistants in Active Learning Classrooms. Journal of Learning Spaces.

Merritt, B. and Bent, T. (2020). Perceptual evaluation of speech naturalness in speakers of varying gender identities. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. 63(7), 2054-2069.

Bent, T., Holt, R. F., Miller, K. and Libersky, E. (2019). Sentence context facilitation for children’s and adults’ recognition of native- and nonnative-accented speech. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. 62, 423-433.

Bent, T. and Holt, R. F. (2018). Shhh… I need quiet! Children’s understanding of American, British, and Japanese-accented English speakers. Language and Speech. 61(4), 657-673.

Bent, T. (2018). Development of unfamiliar accent comprehension continues through adolescence. Journal of Child Language. 45, 1400-1411.

McLaughlin, D. J., Baese-Berk, M. M., Bent, T., Borrie, S. A., & Van Engen, K. J. (2018). Coping with adversity: Individual differences in the perception of noisy and accented speech. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics. 80(6), 1559-1570.